(mostly) daily photoblog

Why does French have all the cool words and phrases?

Let’s start with the fact that this coast shot is in Nice, France.  Nice, pronounced like “neece”, but also one of the nicest coasts I’ve ever seen.  The Mediterranean is truly beautiful and impressive – I’ve spent the bulk of my years on the Canadian west coast, very near the Pacific and I’ve never seen blue water like I saw in Nice.  So their place-names are cool, but what about those other phrases and words?

How about “l’esprit d’escalier”?  It means, literally, the spirit of the stairs, but what it actually means is that moment when you think of a witty comeback or remark on your way down the stairs, when it’s too late to unleash your massive wit against your defender.  How cool is that?  A phrase that encompasses one of my most frustrating moments (and there have been many of those moments).

Or let’s try the words connaitre and savoir.  We have the word “know” and it’s supposed to cover all ways of knowing.  But the french have two words (that I know of – ha!  see what I did there?) to convey two different meanings.  Savoir is a verb that means to know a fact or something committed to memory.  Connaitre is a verb that means to know someone.  It implies familiarity and intimacy.

Okay, so maybe that’s not all the cool words and phrases, but there’s a couple of my favorites.

Pentax K20D; Pentax DA 18-55mm AL; f32; ISO 100; 1/10 sec.

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2 responses

  1. Kerry

    Very interesting. In Spanish we use two verbs as well for “know”….the first being “saber” which is to know something and “conocer” which means to know someone.

    May 7, 2010 at 10:32 pm

  2. If you haven’t already, check out Fou-da-fa-fa by Flight of the Concordes, it’s for the French wannabe in all of us. C’est n’ai pas bon pour ta ligne…which literally means: it’s not good for your figure – but it’s fun to say and sounds very French!

    K 🙂

    May 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm